The ultimate guide to teaching high school literature

Excellence in Literature helps you teach classic literature and writing to teens even if you don’t know Virginia Woolf from Beowulf!

Have you always wanted to read the Great Books? Now is your chance! With the Excellence in Literature curriculum, you and your student can enjoy reading, understanding, and analyzing the greatest literature of all time. Excellence in Literature presents a feast of great literature along with the context information you need in order to fully understand it.

You are reading: The ultimate guide to teaching high school literature


These challenging, self-directed courses introduce students to full-length great literature in its historical context, while developing skills in writing and literary analysis. English I and II provide foundational skills; English III and IV offer a chronological survey of American and British literature, and English V focuses on classics of the Western world.

 “Discovered some of her favorite books of all time . . .”

“Just as a note of testimony . . . I overheard a phone conversation was having with a friend this morning, and she was talking about literature with the friend.

She said that she hadn’t really looked forward to literature this year because she thought it would be dry and boring but had discovered some of her favorite books of all time this year, including The Great Gatsby (because of all the symbolism), ‘Evangeline’ (even though it’s a poem, and she didn’t think she liked poetry), and The Scarlet Letter.

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What a wonderful thing for me to be able to overhear!” Heather M., AR (after using Excellence in Literature’s American Literature with her daughter)

An Honors Track, with additional readings and writing, for each course encourages preparation for AP or CLEP exams. Some students who have taken this track have been permitted advanced placement in college based upon the material covered. Students who complete five years of Excellence in Literature have the potential of earning 24-30 hours of college credit through testing.

Free sample lesson from Introduction to Literature with information sheet and printable booklist (PDF). 

Course Format

The literature-based module format of Excellence in Literature offers students the opportunity to grow thoroughly familiar with some of the greatest writers and literary works of all time. There are nine four-week modules in each level.Study material and writing assignments for each module are centered around a full-length focus text — a novel, play, or poem — chosen for its significance to the period of literature being studied.A reasonable number of context works, including poetry, short biographies, art, music, videos, and online resources, are selected to enhance the student’s understanding of the focus text, its author, and the literary period in which it was created.

A week-by-week assignment schedule provides an emphasis on the analytical essay, which offers the opportunity to perfect the standard writing process of planning, drafting, and revising. Shorter assignments in various forms will round out each module.

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The Excellence in Literature curriculum is boy-friendly

“I have used EiL Introduction to Literature with my youngest son and we both loved it!You have done an excellent job at providing quality literature analysis and composition for the college bound high school student. The most appealing thing about Excellence in Literature . . . is that so many of the works of literature you have chosen are interesting to boys.I have been homeschooling my 4 sons over 20 years and each year it was a struggle to locate a strong literature program that contained classic works that would be interesting to boys/young men. EiL meets that very important requirement at our home and I jump at the chance to let other moms know that you have produced an excellent source of literary study. I am thrilled to recommend your products every chance I get. Thank you so much!”Whitney from Mandeville, Louisiana, via e-mail

What’s Special About the Excellence in Literature curriculum?

Carefully chosen great books increase cultural literacy.Self-directed courses encourage independent learning.College-style study helps to prepare students for university study.Week-by-week lesson plans make it easy to know what to do when.Nine four-week modules in each level.Honors Option provides motivated students the opportunity to earn advanced placement or college credit.Evaluation rubric makes grading simple.Carefully designed end-of-semester evaluation reports provide a detailed snapshot of progress.Context readings provide in-depth understanding of literature in its historical and artistic context.Free sample lesson and printable booklist (PDF).Students are introduced to books they will never forget

I thought you’d like to know what my daughter had to say about EIL when we were talking about curriculum this year (last year was our first year in EIL3). She told me that she likes EIL so much better than our previous curriculum.

When I asked her “Why?” she told me that she is able to enjoy the books so much more. She said it’s not easy, but it really makes her think hard and try to understand much more about books than she did before.

She likes the context resources too because they are “interesting and I learn a lot from them.” She said that she’s surprised that she enjoys it so much even though it’s hard work! Believe me, that’s saying something coming from her!
Categories: literature

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